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Help With ADHD

Curated and updated for the community by APA

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental disorders affecting children. ADHD also affects many adults. Symptoms of ADHD include inattention (not being able to keep focus), hyperactivity (excess movement that is not fitting to the setting) and impulsivity (hasty acts that occur in the moment without thought).

See definition, symptoms, & treatment

  • Nov 15, 2019
ADHD Increasing Among Adults

New research published earlier this month finds the number of adults with ADHD has been increasing. The study in   JAMA Open Network found the rate of ADHD has been increasing among adults of all races/ethnicities. However, there were substantially lower rates of detection among minority racial/ethnic subgroups. Rates of ADHD and rates remained highest for whites throughout the 10-year study period. 

  • Oct 11, 2019
Small Study Indicates that Markers in Baby Teeth May Provide Clues to ADHD and Autism

Researchers have recently identified markers in baby teeth that are unique to attention- deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder and individuals with both conditions. The research suggests that the processing of nutrients and toxins plays a role in these conditions, according to authors Christine Austin, Ph.D., with Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, and colleagues.

  • Jul 09, 2019
Irritability in Children Can be More than Just a Bad Mood

Irritability, defined as a low threshold to experience anger in response to frustration, is one of the main reasons children are referred to a mental health evaluation. Irritability can appear as age-inappropriate temper outbursts and a sullen, grouchy mood and is associated with several child and adolescent mental health conditions.

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Attention Deficit Disorder Association

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2019
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Active Minds

My son's teacher keeps sending notes home about his behavior at school and I don't understand the problem. He is fine with me, maybe a handful for his mother and his grandparents. Should I ask for them to change his teacher, or is there a problem?

You are fortunate to have good management skills that help you with your child's behavior. Parents often get confusing reports about their children, and there are many factors that need to be considered. A good starting point is a meeting with your child's teacher and school guidance counselor. Ask for another observation of your child in the classroom. If the problems continue, there are behavior rating scales that help to clarify the problem behaviors. The Vanderbilt Assessment Scales used for diagnosing ADHD are readily available and the standard in many communities. Your child’s doctor may be comfortable with the next steps in the evaluation or you might look for a mental health professional, such as a child and adolescent psychiatrist, to continue the evaluation process. More

Are there side effects with ADHD medications that we should be worried about with children? What about adults taking ADHD medications long-term?

Like all medications there are important side effects that should be considered if a decision is made to try medications for treatment of ADHD. The most serious side effects involve the heart, primarily in children who have known heart problems. More common side effects are lack of appetite, sleep problems and moodiness. Usually these side effects can be managed with adjustments in the dosage, timing of dose or changing to another medication. Your child’s treatment will involve regular follow-up visits to monitor for any of these problems.

Most children with ADHD will continue having problems with concentration and focus during adolescence and adulthood. Research has confirmed that medications continue to be effective into adulthood. While there are few studies looking at very long-term effects it appears that the long- term benefit outweighs the risks. More

My 17-year-old son with ADHD does not want to take his medication anymore. Should I continue to try to get him to take the medication?

Adolescents with almost any medical condition will insist that they can manage their treatment. “I would rather do it myself.” Fortunately, in most cases the physician has anticipated this and steps have been taken early to help your child learn about his condition, identify target symptoms that improve with treatment and encourage open discussion about side effects. Trials off medication are welcomed. Explore your son’s reasons for wanting to be off medication. It may be a side effect that he has not discussed with his doctor. Identify the likely changes that are expected during a trial off medication. Your son might be willing to identify a neutral observer (a favorite teacher, a coach) who can help monitor for problem issues. Their observations may feel less “parental.” More

Are there non-medication ADHD treatments that are effective?

There are many steps that a family can take short of medication. Usually these involve close attention to a problem behavior and developing a strategy (not punishment) that might change the behavior. Some are straight forward – tighter routines in the morning while getting ready for school, close monitoring of homework assignments and school projects that require planning, or accommodations at school for tests. Some families benefit from counseling to examine conflicts at home.

There are many other “treatments” on the market that promise to be the answer for your child. Most of their claims have not been adequately tested for safety or long-term benefit. In this area parents have to be very informed consumers. A conversation with your child’s pediatrician is a good place to start. More

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About the Expert:

Scott Benson, M.D.
Pediatric Psychiatrist
Pensacola, Fla.

Tammy’s Story

Tammy, an 8-year-old third grader, was halfway through the second grading period when her parents asked for another conference with her teacher. Her grades were very low with failure to complete class assignments and inconsistent performance on homework.

Read More

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APR 8 2019

The (Reactive) Parent Trap

Additude

Your child’s behavior never ceases to amaze you. “Again? Really?” you say, “I’ve had it!” The exhaustion is real, but continuing on the road you’re traveling won’t solve that. Instead, you need to replace your reactive parenting with proactive strategies such as these. To see real change and growth in your child’s behavior, you’ve got to make a fundamental shift from reactive (“I’ve had it!) to proactive parenting. What does this look like? Proactive parents do the following:  speak with intention and consistency; create plans and follow routines; reward direction over outcome; and accept and learn from mistakes — their own and their child’s.

MAR 18, 2019

How professionals with ADHD make their jobs (and life)

Marketwatch

‘I feel like I can make connections in my mind a lot faster and more creatively than maybe people who don’t have ADHD.’ Jones is among the 4.4% of U.S. adults who have ADHD, which drew renewed attention last month thanks to journalist Yashar Ali’s viral Twitter  thread combating misconceptions and trivializations of the neurodevelopmental disorder. ADHD, which is marked by inattention and/or hyperactivity–impulsivity, is often comorbid with mood and anxiety disorders.

MAR 15, 2019

One in Three Students with ADHD Receives No School Services

Additude Magazine

A critical lack of school support services was revealed in the first large-scale analysis of school services drawn from a national sample of youth with ADHD. A national study of U.S. school children from every state showed that one in three students with attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) receives no support services at school.